Contrary to what many think, some of the most critical teachings of Karate have nothing to do with physical action. While kicks, punches and blocks are a fun and important aspect of Karate training, some of the more fundamental, (keyword MENTAL) focal points of training involve the development of character, and the state-of-mind.
Any martial art is first and foremost a form of self-defense. However, martial arts teachings often extend beyond physical training and into a more encompassing way of life. In Karate, this is called Karate-Do, which literally translates into “the way of the hand”. Practically, this means that students of Karate are taught the importance of attaining mental mastery, in tandem with physical training, for more holistic development – including respect.
As with many other aspects of Karate training, the benefits of respect easily translate into everyday life.
An early development of respect is especially important for youth, as a fundamental character trait for positive behavior and relationship development. An aptitude for respect helps to develop a positive parent-child relationship. It also helps connect children to an increased ability to develop meaningful social relationships. Lastly, it helps students achieve success academically, through stronger student-teacher relationships.
Respect is a vital character trait that is required for success in traditional Japanese Shotokan Karate, which emanates into many aspects of training.
In the beginning training, students are taught the value of respect for figures of authority, such as their teachers, to encourage an environment of effective learning. They learn to always show regard for their teacher’s instruction, and that through such respect, they will increase their ability to learn and succeed.
Students also learn the benefits of respecting both fellow students and opponents, to further increase learning opportunity, and to help encourage successful self-defense. They learn the value of mutual respect, and develop an ability to demonstrate it practically.
Lastly, they are taught the value of respecting themselves, to foster peace and personal growth. They are shown, through goal oriented training, the value of their hard work, and their ability to achieve success.